Air pollution linked to ‘extremely high mortality’ in people with mental disorders

Original article posted by Damian Carrington, The Guardian Environment editor. Fri 26 Jan 2018 at


A major study in Hong Kong shows the risk of death rises sharply on hazy days, when air pollution is much worse

The Hong Kong research is the first to analyse the link of haze days and risk of death. The risk of death for people with mental and behavioural disorders rises sharply on days when air pollution reaches toxic peaks, a major study in Hong Kong has found.

Researchers analysed a decade of death statistics and revealed a strong link, with the mortality risk rising 16% on the first day of haze and 27% on the second day compared to normal days. If the haze was accompanied by high ozone pollution, the risk of death increased by 79%.

The new research tallies with other recent work that has found links between short-term increases in air pollution and suicides. However, scientists do not yet understand how air pollution may cause these effects and they are urging more research, as well as immediate help for those at risk.

In the UK and Republic of Ireland, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14.



Credit: Damian Carrington, The Guardian Environment editor. Fri 26 Jan 2018 at

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